Mayor John Tecklenburg is proud to announce that the City of Charleston’s Excellence in Volunteer Service Award is being rededicated. The award will honor Robert Allan Ballard, Jr., a long-time neighborhood leader and supporter of the city, who passed away in 2018. He will succeed Harold Koon for whom the award was originated in 1998. Robert was the recipient of this award in 2001.
Robert spent a career in public service working for Charleston County in Community Development, Recycling, and Facilities Management. Robert had a passion to protect the livability of Charleston’s neighborhoods. For decades, he attended hundreds of City Council, Board of Architectural Review, Zoning Board, and Town & Gown meetings. He was the first president of the Radcliffeborough Neighborhood Association and served in that capacity for many years.
As Robert did not drive, he saw everything from street level. His observations and recommendations were spot on, and over the years he shared them with City of Charleston staffers, City Councilmembers, and the Mayors. He made a point to become acquainted with everyone. Robert was the ultimate, dapper Southern gentleman who insisted on opening and closing doors for ladies and spoke softly, slowly but persistently.
Robert opened his home for community meetings, making sure that positive and tangible results came from the time and effort spent on whatever subject. He was the citizen volunteer that convinced the City of Charleston to implement a pilot program for street cleaning where cars would move from one side of the street to the other in order for sweepers to thoroughly clean the curbs and storm drains. In 2002, he received the Three Sisters Award from the Committee to Save the City.
Because of Robert’s love of and great dedication to improving Charleston, this award will now be known as the Robert Ballard Excellence in Volunteer Service Award.